An educational and inspirational day was had by all who came together to recognise the joint Soils for Life, Rotary Club of Sydney and Local Land Services Western Region Western Division Resilient Landscapes Project in Cobar recently.
Project sponsors and participants joined Soils for Life founding Chairman and National Advocate for Soil Health, Major General Michael Jeffery, to visit a local property, Glenace, and inspect various techniques being applied to build long-term landscape resilience to the impacts of drought.
Supported by Local Land Services, John and Ann Crossing have invested in the construction of water-spreading banks, raised mounds which are strategically constructed along the contours at Glenace.
When rain falls, instead of flowing rapidly across the landscape, these banks slow the water and allow it to infiltrate the soil surface which better enables plant germination and growth.
A one-time investment, these banks are rapidly colonised by plant species which help to make them permanent beneficial fixtures in the landscape.
The Crossings have also undertaken authorised clearing of woody weed species, keeping mature trees and encouraging pasture growth.
This has put them on the path to restoring the landscape to the open pastured woodland typical of the region prior to the degradation caused by overgrazing by high numbers of sheep and plague rabbit populations in the late 1800s and early 1900s.
By applying these interventions and managing total grazing pressure through planned rotational grazing and trapping and removal of goats, this gradually healing landscape is well on the way to making Glenace a profitable and sustainable enterprise.
Local project participants and city visitors alike were impressed with the strategies being applied and the dedication it takes to effectively manage a property in the semi-arid rangelands to build landscape and enterprise resilience.
Visitors to the property were later joined by other local land managers, mine representatives and members of the community for the public information forum and lunch in Cobar.
Hosted by Rotary, attendees learnt of the many community projects this world-wide organisation supports, further demonstrated by an additional donation to the Western Division Resilient Landscapes Project.
General Jeffery spoke of his passion for healthy soils and the importance of looking after the landscape for human health, food security and global stability.
He talked about his activities as Soil Advocate and the work Soils for Life does to encourage the adoption of regenerative agricultural practices.
Soils for Life documented examples of excellence in building landscape and enterprise resilience on Ashley McMurtrie’s Gilgunnia Station near Cobar, and Angus Whyte’s Wyndham Station near Wentworth.
The project will be seeking further participants for its mentoring program in the near future.
For more information about the project, visit www.soilsforlife.org.au